The Complete Illustrated Directory of Salmon & Steelhead Flies

Posted by Nick Amato on

When the idea for this book was first discussed it was our intention simply to publish an omnibus edition of the catalogue sections of my previous volumes Shrimp & Spey Flies for Salmon, Hairwing & Tube Flies for Salmon and Featherwing & Hackle Flies for Salmon. This would provide a quick, easy and comprehensive catalogue of patterns for those anglers and flydressers who required it without having to take on board the more general observations about patterns found within the text of the earlier books.

As the discussions progressed it became clear that there were some limitations to this idea. Firstly, in the previous volumes, I had not covered the large number of dry flies, surface effect and waking flies which are now widely used for salmon and steelhead fly fishing. Secondly, wide though the coverage of the previous books had been, there were a large number of patterns that, for one reason or another, had not been included. Our ideas were therefore revised and we decided to press ahead with a completely new book which rectified these concerns and would provide a one­stop reference manual with a breadth of patterns not previously published. This involved researching, identifying and illustrating at least 500 further patterns, in addition to amending, correcting and improving those used within the previous volumes. This labour has consumed the last two and a half years of my life.

I should also note that although 1,800 is a large number of flies, there are probably another 1,000 that have not been included in this volume because they are either so similar to those included as to make no difference; or they are such minor flies as to be of negligible importance. The selection of what was included and what was not, was, for better or worse, mine. I have tried to include the most important and relevant examples of each type of pattern — dry, hairwing, featherwing, hackle fly, Spey, Dee, shrimp, skater, marabou etc. But there will, no doubt, be instances when you may disagree with my choices and wish for other patterns. For this I apologize in advance but in any general directory such as this, compromises have to be made and I hope you will feel that the advantages outweigh any disadvantages.

I am also fully aware that there has been a degree of comment about my previous books, mostly very kind but some regretting the fact that illustrations, by their very nature, lose some of the imperfections inherent in tying flies and that some of the character is thereby lost. In this latest volume I have worked very hard to remedy this perception but nevertheless, drawings remain drawings. The fact that the illustrations gain in clarity, an important point in a dressing directory, may be seen as compensation. I would also point out that if a book such as this depended on new photographs being taken of over 1,800 newly-tied flies, together with the problems of page layout, collation and editing, then the time taken would be prohibitive and the cost such, that the price of the book would be far too high for anglers.

It will be obvious to knowledgeable readers that, apart from the illustrations, there is very little new invention on my part in this book; the job has been overwhelmingly that of collating and collecting patterns that have been published in a huge range of books, magazines and, more recently, web sites, over the years. The number of flydressers and anglers who have devised these patterns and spread the information is huge and individual acknowledgments are therefore hardly possible. In the bibliography you will see that the books consulted include just about every book on salmon and steelhead flies published since 1850. I would therefore like to acknowledge and thank all those anglers and flydressers for their skill and dedication. The body of work shown in this book is breathtaking in its breadth of imagination and beauty. Flies are so much more than simple devices for catching fish!

—Chris Mann



This is the most comprehensive directory of salmon flies ever published. Respected international flytying author Chris Mann has been studying salmon flies and their inventors for 30 years.

He has corresponded with countless expert tyers in the United States, Canada, the Nordic and Western European countries - seeking out all their popular and enduring salmon flies. Now his research is complete.

Over 1800 salmon and steelhead flies - each one illustrated in colour and with its full dressing provided - make this the definitive reference, the all-in-one volume for salmon anglers and flytyers throughout the world.

Chris Mann's vibrant illustrations of the flies show them with a clarity, accuracy and consistency seldom achieved through photographs.

The flies are ordered alphabetically in the book, making it easy for the reader to find the exact fly and to check the precise dressing. Mann gives a brief introduction to each fly, noting its originator when known and the reputation it has achieved. A full, cross-referencing index is included.

So, when you next find yourself on the riverbank wondering what exactly a Grizzly King looks like, and whether there is something similar in your own fly collection which will help you catch a salmon - then you will hurry home and reach for this informative book.


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